The Holocaust and Human Behavior

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Essential Questions: 

*How do people treat each other in a multicultural society?
*What is a government's role and responsibility in protecting human rights for all citizens?
*How does one learn to make personal choices from reading about human experience?
*What causes good government to go terribly wrong?

Habits Of Mind: 

Students examine human behavior as it relates to the Holocaust during the World War II era. Journal writing helps them explore themes and emotional aspects of the unit. Nightly assignments llok at the history of Weimar period Germany. Each student adopted a Holocaust-related topic and produced a visula presentation for the class. Students were also challenged to recite a portion of a speech by a world leader of the era.


As a result of these studies, students will understand that:

  • European competitiveness in the wake of World War I kept Germany unstable through the 1920s
  • Targeting and stereotyping are commonly utilized forms of propaganda.
  • Antisemitism and other targeting of particular groups continues in the world today.
  • Hitler's rise to power was well coordinated by a passionate group of misguided followers.
Skills and Processes: 

*Expository writing and critical comment, beginning with paragraphs
*Reading for meaning and understanding
*Journaling, reflection, and creative response about human rights and personal decision making
*Discussion and listening skills


*Peer Review
*Oral Presentations
*Paragraph and Essay Rubrics
*Nightly assignments
*Long term project about a selected topic


The Holocaust and Human Behavior from Facing History and Ourselves
Self-selected memoirs and novels based on human rights themes
United States Holocaust Museum website
Oregon Jewish Museum and Holocaust Studies Center field trip

Multicultural Dimension: 

*Literature, self-selected by students, covered many ethnic and racial groups.
*Religious scapecoating of a minority faith.


Integrated Learning: 
  • English class read The Book Thief during this unit.
  • German Art of the Weimar period was used to illustarte how artists highlighted society's anguish.